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jewel’s church english england

John Jewel, bishop of Salisbury and apologist of the Church of England, was born on 24 May 1522 at Buden in Devonshire. In 1535, he entered Merton College, Oxford, where he came under the direction of John Parkhurst, humanist and later one of the early Elizabethan bishops, who introduced the young Jewel to humanist studies and biblical criticism. Jewel later transferred to Corpus Christi College, from which he received the bachelor of arts in 1540. In 1542 he became a probationary fellow and upon obtaining the M.A. in 1545 was appointed a permanent fellow at Corpus Christi. He was made reader in humanity and rhetoric in 1548 and in the same year met the Continental Reformer and regius professor of divinity, Peter Martyr Vermigli, with whom he developed a close and lifelong friendship. During the years 1551–52, Jewel was ordained and licensed to preach and earned a bachelor of divinity.

Because of his friendship with Parkhurst and Peter Martyr, Jewel was identified with the Reform group at Oxford. Further, in order to receive financial aid for his studies, he had subscribed to articles of religion that opposed several basic Roman Catholic tenets and practices. Unfortunately for Jewel and his fellow Reformers, Edward VI died, and in July 1553, the staunchly Roman Catholic Mary was crowned queen. Peter Martyr and Parkhurst left for the Continent, while Jewel opted to remain at Oxford. However, within months of Mary’s accession, he was deprived of his fellowship. Despite having subscribed to articles that supported Roman Catholic dogmas, Jewel fled to the Continent and appeared in Frankfurt in March 1555. He was initially viewed with suspicion by the English exiles because of his signature to the articles. After a public confession and plea for forgiveness he aligned himself with the party of Richard Cox and became involved in the argument with the followers of John Knox* over the liturgy. During the years 1555 to 1558 he lived and studied with Peter Martyr, first at Strasbourg and later in Zurich, where Martyr was professor of Hebrew.

With the accession of Elizabeth in November 1558, Jewel returned to England, arriving in London in March 1559. He immediately became involved in the Reform movement and the government’s efforts to enforce the Elizabethan settlement. Although Elizabeth was not moving as quickly as Jewel and the other Reformers had hoped, during the year 1559–60 the Marian bishops, deprived of their sees, were being replaced by Reformers, Jewel among them. He was consecrated bishop of Salisbury at Lambeth 21 January 1560 by Archbishop Parker. At Salisbury he devoted his time to the administration of the diocese and the defense of the English church. Jewel became famous for his generosity, especially toward students preparing for the ministry, among whom was Richard Hooker.*

Jewel’s role as apologist of the Church of England began to take shape shortly before his consecration. On 26 November 1559, he delivered a sermon at Paul’s Cross defending the established church and issued a challenge to Roman Catholic divines to prove him wrong. In 1562, he published the Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae as a reply to the Roman Catholic attacks on the Church of England. The challenge sermon together with the Apologia sparked a theological debate between Jewel and Thomas Harding, an English recusant living at Louvain. Harding took up Jewel’s challenge by publishing An Answere To Maister Iuelles Chalenge (1564). Jewel responded with A Replie unto M. Hardinges answeare (1565). No sooner had Jewel finished the Replie than Harding published A Confutation of a Booke intituled An Apologie of the Church of England (1565). The lengthy Defence of the Apology (1567) served as Jewel’s rebuttal to Harding’s  Confutation . In addition to attacks from the recusants, Jewel became involved in the vestiarian controversy that arose among those Reformers who wished to rid the Church of England of any remaining vestiges of the Roman Church. Although privately against vestments, he upheld the regulation requiring their use during public worship services and other rites of the church.

Jewel died on 23 September 1571 while on a visitation of his diocese and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral.


Studies on Jewel are scant and scattered. John E. Booty and W. M. Southgate have written major studies on Jewel’s role in the evolution and history of the Church of England. According to Southgate a possible reason for this neglect is Jewel’s “extremely voluminous and unsystematic work [which], unlike the beautifully ordered treatise of Hooker, does not attract the modern reader” (viii). However, Southgate insists that the study of Jewel’s writings is especially important to the historian because Jewel’s “experience as apologist and as bishop during the formative and crucial first decade of the reign presents a significant and extremely valuable case study of Anglicanism” (viii).

Jewel’s ideas on the presence of Christ in the Eucharist within the broader context of the Protestant Reformers’ rejection of transubstantiation have received scholarly attention as well as his method of scriptural exegesis in his sermons. However, the latter study again does not focus solely on Jewel but rather on the similarity and dissimilarity of his method to that of Latimer, Hooker, and Andrewes. As for Jewel’s preaching, in an article on Jewel and Elizabeth I, Booty comments that Jewel’s sermons are “much neglected by scholars” (Booty 215).

Literary studies of Jewel are also few in number. David K. Weiser has written a detailed study of Jewel’s prose style, focusing on his sermons. Other critiques of Jewel’s style are contained in general studies on the development of English prose. Booty in John Jewel as Apologist makes passing mention of Jewel’s style as “often tedious to read” (123). This view echoes the earlier judgment by Creighton who, speaking of the Defence , states that the style is not only tedious but that it also “robbed his book as a whole of literary charm” (817). Creighton further states that Jewel’s works have “an air of cold and mechanical precision… they are strictly logical, and make no appeal to the emotions” (818). However, Weiser asserts that when speaking of Jewel’s sermons and treatises, Creighton’s judgment is no longer acceptable (189). Jewel’s writings and those of the English recusants that were spawned as a result of Jewel’s apologetic works still await full critical analysis. Southern in his study on the English recusants’ prose emphasizes the importance of these writings in the study of English literature. Jewel and his opponents provide “a considerable body of prose work, the outstanding marks of which are… clarity and naturalness of expression…. It may be held that they fill or help to fill a significant gap in the general history of our English prose” (66). This view is echoed by Weiser, who states that “Jewel’s importance to the history of English prose is two-fold. First, he is significant for having written a perfectly clear style that can easily be understood by the modern reader. This fact will have to be considered by those scholars who place the beginnings of modern prose at much later dates. Secondly, his sermons succeed quite frequently in merging clear thought with strong feelings” (190).

Jewelry and Amulets - PROTECTION., SYMBOLISM., BOATMAN’S CIRCLET., DIADEMS., WIG DECORATIONS., RINGS AND EARRINGS., SEMI-PRECIOUS Stones—Imported and Local [next] [back] Jesus of Nazareth

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